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SXU Political Science Student Dedicates Self to Advocacy and Support


Saint Xavier University (SXU) political science student Arlene Silva is working hard to advocate for first-generation students and their families, give representation to the political science sphere, and exercise leadership on campus to support her peers.  

Silva, who also minors in communication sciences and disorders, chose to study political science so that she can be better informed politically and help others. 

"As a first-generation Latina, I want to help family and friends who do not understand our country's policies and justice systems. I oftentimes feel people shy away from politics and the justice system because it's an area where minorities are not well-represented. I am persistent and here to prove that first-generation students are meant to be in spaces like these," said Silva.  

Silva is grateful for the mentorship she is receiving from the faculty at SXU, who she believes makes her investment in and commitment to Saint Xavier worth it.  

"I am beyond grateful for Dr. [Matthew] Costello, who has given me a fantastic political science student experience. I've had him for three classes this year and he's done a wonderful job guiding me to grow as a student, giving me great internship ideas and encouraging me to pursue writing within my political science career," said Silva, whose goal is to soon write for a political newspaper.  

While juggling her major and minor, Silva stays quite busy on campus, serving as the vice president of the Student Government Association (SGA), resident assistant (RA), orientation leader (OL), TRIO student representative, and Unidos student representative. Being involved has helped her to make memories she cherishes.  

"My favorite memory is my orientation leader experience. I was fortunate enough to take part in SXU's first Spanish orientation session for parents, and it was such a pure and wholesome experience to talk to Spanish-speaking families and inform them about their child's new journey. It was truly emotional to talk to families with first-generation students, and they were beyond grateful for the capability to understand what their child was going to do and ask critical questions. As a student with Spanish-speaking parents, it was truly healing to see the families light up as I helped them," said Silva.  

Silva also finds that her involvement on campus has helped her to grow as a leader and an individual.  

"During my time with SGA, I have been able to advocate for the student body and make change at SXU. I love pursuing my passions and representing the voice of the University. The important events I've been fortunate enough to be included in at SXU have made me feel confident and empowered. Understanding the different perspectives of the student body helps me to efficiently cater to their diverse needs," said Silva.  

Silva also works hard as an RA to guide and help residents so that they have a comfortable experience at SXU. She feels that her experiences have helped her embody the leadership needed to direct her residents easily to important resources.  

In the future, Silva hopes to pursue graduate education in communication sciences and disorders and eventually work as a speech-language pathologist, and she is also interested in working in higher education.  

"The great staff and faculty at SXU have encouraged me and have been wonderful mentors and role models. I still have some time to think about my career direction, but I am confident and enjoying my journey here at SXU."